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Commentary: Cracked Conch
Published on August 23, 2012 Email To Friend    Print Version

By David Tapfer

The looming failure of the Trade Wind Industries development to revitalize and enlarge the Conch Farm is a clear reflection of the tack the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is on.

Simply put: “No concessions for developers”.

tapfer.jpg
David Tapfer is a retired, US-born engineer and management executive. He is the former chairman of the Middle Caicos Branch of the Peoples Democratic Movement
In my opinion this translates to “no development for TCI.” The proof of course is in the pudding.

There are two ways to destroy development.

One is to discourage honest developers by asking for bribes. This chases the bona fide, honest people away and encourages the under-financed corrupters who are out to enrich only those at the top and not necessarily the actual investors or underwriters

The other way is to withhold concessions. The use of concessions by well advised governments has been historically successful. You forego taxes for a while to gain the employment and eventual revenue when the concessions expire.

Since 2003, these two mistakes have been behind the stalling of honest development and the failure of the underfinanced, unfinished monuments we now see everywhere in the TCI.

The reasons concessions are now being withdrawn by the direct rule government is clear. The FCO sees contingent liability looming. If Britain has to pay down the $260 million loan and the cost of health care -- all products of their lack of oversight -- the British liberal press will have a field day and heads will roll in the FCO.

Add to the mix increased taxation, which discourages development as well as punishing the average man, woman and child in this island economy and you get what you got. As Mike Misick said: “When I go down I will take everyone with me.”

It appears we are doomed to years of heavy taxation, low or no development and a much lower standard of living. All this points to the need for some fresh thinking; the need for some real financial gurus. Sit down, Gilbert, I did not mean you.

The alternative is financing by another rich government. We may well remember the Misick-Chavez connection. This then causes me to remember the Russian-financed Cuban commie interference in independent Grenada. USA helicopters and bullets flew and people died. Perhaps it would be another Falkland Islands.

Is this where we are at? One thing I know for sure is we cannot hire the people that caused this mess. The ball has been in the British court and courts since Gordon Wetherell arrived on the heels of Sir John Stanley, Pope and Keetch. I for one have no sympathy for Munn and Turner and if Roberts has to go, along with Bellingham, better that than the whole TCI. The current mess is but a symptom of greed on the part of certain people and on the systemic weakness demonstrated by the “Empire” since about 1776.
 
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